Kashu-do (歌手道): Technique in a Vacuum: Lessons from Magagnosc

The first Kashu-do mini-workshop (7-days) in Magagnosc France (between Nice and Cannes) was as fun as it was profound!  The clearest message that developed was that at the highest levels of technical progress–and probably even at all levels–an emotional/musical impulse is not only beneficial but indeed necessary!  It is a fundamental Kashu-do principles that the mind desires and the body responds. Yet it is also our belief that the body must be physically capable of responding to produce the conditions for the desired utterance/sound/expression.  What the Magagnosc experience made clear is that the singer can get out of the way of the technical process when his/her mind is occupied with the creative process!

Just before onset, the singer must have a clear idea of the text, musical elements as well as how emotional impulse is measured by the musical structure (pitch, rhythm, text and harmonic progression) constructed by the composer–A total picture that includes the quality of the onset and how the shape of the line is to be emitted via the breath! The pedagogue Sergius Kagen was convinced that imagination was a key component of vocal technique and I agree!

Technical competency in singing can be measured by the degree to which the vocal apparatus (the entire body) responds unimpeded to the desire to produce the vocal-musical phrase!  Without a musical impulse that brings specific muscular systems into action, vocal production becomes a rapid series of disjointed cerebral directives–disjointed because they are not united by a causal impulse! Singing in such a manner produces an emotionless, purposeless, stagnant breath stream that cannot maintain the continuous oscillation of an otherwise healthy vibration system!

The breath is the oil in the machine! Musical purpose activates the breath!

The idea of the Kashu-do “mini-workshop” in Magagnosc was to recreate the atmosphere of the very successful Härnösand Opera Academy on a smaller scale.  The experience ended up being something very singular.  The combination of the ydillic setting of the French Riviera, the intense vocal/musical work and the intimacy of a small group encouraged all involved to let down their guard and experience their own singing on a more emotional and sensory level, making each singer aware of what aspect of the total needed more attention! We truly need different formats and learning situations in a world so fast-paced and goal-oriented.  The Singer’s Journey (Kashu-do) focuses on the human being that is the singer.  Singing is so much more than just a group of muscles!

© 03/14/2015

P.S.  See here for next master class in Magagnosc and other Kashu-do events.

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